24. Rabbi David Isaac Freedman (1874-1939), educator, chaplain and statesman
David Freedman was born in Budapest, Hungary and educated in England. He migrated to Western Australia in 1897 to administer the Perth Hebrew congregation. As headmaster of the Perth Hebrew School, Rabbi Freedman stressed the value of a Hebrew education and the need to foster pride in the history and tradition of Judaism.
Rabbi Freedman was appointed a chaplain in the Australian Imperial Forces and served in Gallipoli, Egypt and France. Throughout the war it was his policy to write home to the family of every Jewish soldier he met. On his return to Perth after the War, he served as President of the Western Australian Zionist Association and State President of the Returned Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Imperial League of Australia.
In 1933 Rabbi Freedman accompanied the Australian delegation to the 14th Assembly of the League of Nations at Geneva and spoke on the German-Jewish question. On his return to Perth, the Rabbi spoke against the “good deal of anti-Jewish feeling in Australia”. In 1936 he was awarded the O.B.E.
David Isaac Freedman was considered a man of energy and compassion who had his own methods of facing adversities, at times with “a direct vigour that proved him to be a man of courage”.